Banana R&D Speed Dating night a hit

Growers and researchers participate in round-the-table discussions on a range of R&D topics.
Shannon Paton, DAF’s Tegan Kukulies, Gavin Devaney and Parmjeet Tut at the event.

A playful title for this R&D event, held in October, gave attendees a good indication of what they could expect when hearing about the latest banana research from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF).

The event, organised by the DAF banana extension team, was attended by more than 40 people and was more about conversation than presentations.

With presenters given only 3 minutes to give their pitch, Jeff Daniels (variety evaluation), Stewart Lindsay (variety development), Richard Piper (bunch pest management), David East (yellow sigatoka), Ingrid Jenkins (online resources) and Peter Trevorrow (Erwinia) set the scene, then participated with their colleagues in 10 minute round-the-table discussions with growers and industry stakeholders.

Those that attended also heard first-hand from growers Shannon Paton, Gavin Devaney and Parmjeet Tut, along with ABGC’s Research and Development Manager Rosie Godwin, all of whom participated in a recent NextGen trip to the Northern Territory, where they visited variety trials screening for resistance to Panama disease tropical race 4. The growers reinforced that seeing the disease first hand is a reminder of how devastating it is. They also shared some interesting observations from visits to Asian vegetable and mango production systems that were organised as part of the trip.

The Speed Dating night concluded with a grower-to-grower chat about on-farm biosecurity practices followed by light refreshments and further discussion amongst those that attended.

“Hearing how much positive conversation was being had not only between the researchers and the growers, but also between the growers themselves, was so uplifting,” Tegan Kukulies, from the DAF banana extension team, said.

“The relaxed nature of the event certainly helped stimulate the conversations and I think the growers really got a lot from it.”

The extension team thanked all growers who attended and supported the event.



This event was organised and funded as part of the strategic levy investment project National Banana Development and Extension Program BA16007. The project is funded by Hort Innovation using the banana research and development levy, co-investment from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.